Meet Jhenica Tongco…

Jhenica in Siem Reap


Jhenica is a volunteer from Canada who worked with Anjali House, an educational centre in Siem Reap that provides support to local children and young adults. As a graphic designer and communications officer, Jhenica helped Anjali House with their annual report, as well as teaching graphic design to kids with the hope of inspiring them to become graphic designers one day. Jhenica is now here to talk about her time volunteering in Siem Reap.


Hi, Jhenica! What is the achievement you’re most proud of from your time volunteering at Anjali House?

I think I’m most proud of my self-growth during this time. I still have a lot of growing to do and it will never stop. But I’ve always appreciated being alone—I didn’t mind it. I learned that I’m so much more capable and I got a glimpse of what it will be like when I move out of my family’s house. I think my experience has overpowered all my fears and doubts about myself. I learned that I actually have a good knowledge of what I was doing and I was able to teach it properly. I learned that I should be more confident in my skills.



Do you think this volunteering experience help your future studies or career?

Well, of course I’m able to put in on my résumé, which is nice. I’ve learned that I even want to continue my studies to learn more about my field.

Jhenica at Anjali House


Did you experience any kind of problems during your stay in Siem Reap?

I think problems at work is normal. Of course problems occur when people are not on the same page. I think the role was clear but the responsibilities weren’t. However, at the end we found our rhythm and were able to communicate better.

Another problem for me was not knowing whether I was getting scammed or not, since the locals knew that I didn’t know anything. I fell for some, but it’s all part of learning.

Biking was kind of scary for me. I saw a couple of hurt/deceased body a couple of times. As someone who was recently in an accident, it freaked me out. There was a time I almost got hit by kids who were riding their motorcycles recklessly during rush hour. After that I didn’t want to bike again.


What would be your advice for future volunteers wanting to follow your example?

  1. I think realtors aren’t much of a help. It’s better to find landlords and communicate with them directly.
  2. Give yourself some time to adjust. We all have our own pace of coping.
  3. Follow your gut feelings.
  4. Be friends with people you can trust.
  5. Don’t be scared to ask questions.
  6. Try Khmer Curry! it’s soooooo good!! I miss it.
  7. Know your ways.
  8. Budget your monthly expenses!
  9. Learn how to kill a cockroach!!!
  10. Enjoy the experience, because it goes by fast!


If you’d like to have a unique experience while making a difference like Jhenica did, contact Professionals doing good for more information at [email protected].

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